Lunch ruined by traffic stop

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While returning from lunch with a friend, he chose to steer safely around two large potholes in front of the Mills plaza and didn’t notice a police cruiser, some distance behind us. At the light, my friend waved at the two officers, who had pulled alongside.

A siren blurt cued my friend to pull out of the officers’ way, but to our chagrin, they pulled us over. The officers were polite with immaculate uniforms, but they soon lost my respect.

The training officer stood behind his trainee in an intimidating stance and refuted all of my friend’s attempts to explain his actions. Both claimed they had observed us swerving out of the travel lane, nearly striking the shoulder curb, which was absolutely not true. Stating to a citizen something that was absolutely not so, while garbed in the uniform of a public servant, is a grievous breach of ethics.

The trainee was polite and gave my friend a written warning, which was appropriate, considering all that he had done was avoid two large potholes. Having been an officer, in two large cities on the east coast for 15 years, I understand field training for a new officer, and the need for exposure to the public. I also understand that the months spent riding with a training officer is a very informative time, learning not only the law, but people skills and ethics. No matter what types of motor vehicle stops are made, or what types of calls for service a new officer goes on, what will make an officer’s reputation, and his demeanor as an officer, is the way he is taught communication skills, by his training officer.

I would have had “my trainee” introduce himself, request the appropriate documents, to confirm “status,” and then explain that he was in training and just wanted to advise the driver to be careful when negotiating around a road obstacle, and to have a great day.

There are already enough egotistical, police officers on the road, as well as good officers, in our area. To the training officer, please train this young man right, and help him decide exactly how to present himself, in a fair, appropriate and lawful manner. In the future, I hope both officers consider this advice, from a former police officer of 15 years, as constructive criticism, and not to consider this as an ego bruise.

Peter N. Schaefer
Las Vegas